So here goes the second part of my Singaporean adventure.
For our last two full days in Singapore, we visited all the major attractions in the city that you absolutely have to do while in town. We drank Singapore Slings at The Raffles, visited Clarke Quay, Merlion Park, explored the Gardens by the Bay, and sampled some of the best street food around.
Singapore Slings at the Raffles Hotel
When in Singapore, it’s only right to drink your first Singapore Sling at the place it was invented. The delicious gin-based drink that came to be known as the Singapore Sling was invented at the Long Bar at the Raffles by bar captain Ngiam Tong Boon in 1915 and it certainly lives up to the hype.
Interestingly, at the Long Bar, it’s customary to eat peanuts and toss the shells on the ground. In essence, it’s one of the only places in Singapore where “littering” is permitted.
Clarke Quay and Merlion Park
No trip to Singapore is complete without a trip to the waterfront. Upstream from the mouth of the Singapore river, you’ll find Clarke Quay. During the day, it’s rather quiet, but in the evenings, the place is beautiful lit up and full of energy. Numerous shops, restaurants, and bars line the streets. You definitely won’t run out of things to do in an evening or two here.
Down near the Central Business District is Merlion Park, another must-see. Overlooking Marina Bay, is the mythical Merlion. As a national mascot of Singapore, the lion’s head represents Singapore’s original name, Singapura, meaning “lion city”, and the fish body, represents Singapore’s origin as a fishing village. You’ll find Merlions all over Singapore, with the largest one residing on Sentosa island.
Gardens by the Bay
If you see nothing else in Singapore, you must visit Gardens by the Bay. Other cities may have thrilling amusement parks, skyline views, and lots of shopping, but the Gardens are truly unique to Singapore. The three main attractions include the Flower Dome, the Cloud Forest, and the Supertree Grove.
Inside the three acre Flower Dome, which can be basically be described as a giant air conditioned terrarium, you’ll find plants from the Mediterranean and other regions throughout the world. In addition to viewing the various works of art on display, you can grab a drink at Pollen, one of the restaurants located in the Gardens.
Next, we visited the Cloud Forest. The inside of this two-acre dome replicated the cool, moist conditions of the tropical mountain regions of the world. After being greeted by a giant waterfall upon entry, you board an elevator and ride to the misty top of the mountain. From there, you can visit the various exhibits and follow the spiral walkways that lead you back to the bottom.
Back outside, the final stop at the Gardens was the Supertree Grove. Not only do the trees look cool, they serve a multitude of functions for the park. Mounted on top are solar cells to generate electricity, as well as ventilation ducts for the air conditioning systems of the park. In addition, the trees collect rainwater to irrigate the surrounding gardens.
Inside two of the trees are elevators that take you to an elevated catwalk, giving you the best views around.
Between the two domes are the gift shops. In addition to the various souvenirs available, they have liqueur ice cream, which was quite delicious.
No trip to Singapore is complete without trying the street food. Makansutra Gluttons Bay is located just across the bay from Merlion Park and was the best place to have our final dinner in Singapore.
We sampled multiple dishes including stingray, kway teow, chili crab, and fried bananas. Everything was absolutely delicious and although it was packed, it was easy to pick up a variety of dishes from multiple stands. My only advice is to definitely arrive early to have the best luck at finding a seat.
It was an amazing four days in the Lion City and I look forward to making it back in the next few years. The people were friendly, the food was delicious, and everything was exceptionally clean.
For the grand finale, we spent our final night in the city at the famed Marina Bay Sands, which I’ll describe in detail in my next post.